Sen. Dorgan to GOP: 'Knock it off' on plane attack criticism

A key air security panel on Capitol Hill is to hold hearings in the wake of the Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound passenger flight.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), the chairman of an aviation security panel, on Wednesday said that he and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, agreed to hold a series of hearings on transportation security issues in the aftermath of the failed bombing.

Dorgan also called on GOP critics who have bashed the Obama administration for its response to the failed attack to stop their criticism.

“I hope those few members of Congress who are trying to use this terrorist attack for their own partisan gain will knock it off,” Dorgan said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Our country deserves better than to have people try to use a terrorist attack for political gain.”

Dorgan called for a full investigation of the failed bombing incident to “find accountability for the breakdown in security procedures.”

“It appears to me that there were serious failures in sharing information among intelligence and other agencies that allowed this alleged terrorist to board an international flight to the United States,” Dorgan said.

Dorgan also called on the ranking member of his subcommittee, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), to lift his hold on President Barack Obama’s nominee to head of the Transportation Security Administration.

“Our country needs leadership now at this important agency, and our national security interests are more important than the political interests that prompt senators to hold up nominees,” Dorgan said. “Having this position vacant at this time is hurting our national security."

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement on Wednesday asking the Obama administration to keep the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center open. Boehner linked the Obama administration’s handling of the bombing incident to the “dangerous decision” to close Guantánamo and bring 9/11 terror suspects to New York for trial.